Friday, December 30, 2005

And The Winner Is . . .

The Homeschool Blog Award winners are posted! I didn't win, but Hubby said he was very proud of me for being nominated, and that's good enuff for me. I surely do love that man! There are a lot of blogs I hadn't read before who won, and one of my very favorites, The Common Room,won for Best Current Events. Go check out all the winners, you may find some new faves, as I did!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Well, I'd hoped to have a post about our weekend by now, but we've just been enjoying being with each other. Today through the end of the week, I'm watching a friend's daughter while she works, so I'm not sure if I'll get the chance! I posted some pictures, I hope that will do for now.

I hope your weekend was as great as ours was!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Images From the Weekend

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It's all over now . . .

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Sunday, December 25, 2005


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Shopping and Sledding

Not at the same time, of course! I have an incredibly awesome friend (dare I say best friend?!) who, while IMing this morning threw out an "I can take the kids for you if you want to finish your shopping." Are you kidding?! And then she said "I'll take them to the park across the street, we'll go sledding and build snowmen and then have hot cocoa." What? I can shop alone AND not have to spend time in the frigid cold smiling and taking pictures of my darlings as my nose drips icicles and I slowly lose all nerve contact with my toes and fingers? I love my kids dearly, but I hate, hate, hate being outside in the cold. Perhaps because as a kid my folks were the "go outside and play in the snow, kids, see ya at dinner" type. I always talk Hubby into going and building the snowman with them, then I run outside and take pictures and run back in. Anyway, she did that for me -- AND (yes there's more) -- took pictures!!! So, Christmas shopping is done. I did it all, beginning to end, in 2 hours. I came home and wrapped for 30 minutes, tops, and that was it. I'm loving this simplified Christmas stuff! I kept looking around thinking "did I forget some one?" Nope. 3 kids, 3 gifts. Easy as pie! I do have a few stocking stuffers to stuff, but then we're done. YAY! Now, smile in the warmth of your home as we enjoy these sweet smiles.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas Tag

Carol tagged me, and I didn't have anything to post today anyway. Here goes:

Christmas Tag

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
Oh, hard to choose. I love them both, but chocolate wins out every time. My SIL got me a lovely basket this year with several gourmet packets and some chocolate-coated peppermint stir sticks. Yum Yum!

2. Turkey or Ham?
We've done both. Growing up, we always did turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I like the variety of ham at Christmas. When the in-laws still lived here, he always got several hams from vendors so we'd have a smoked, a honey-baked, a spiral. We're having steaks this year.

3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
We like real, but have a fake now. Ds2 has pretty bad asthma in the winter and we don't want to aggrevate it.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
Not this year.

5. Snowball fights or sleddin'?
Stay inside with the hot cocoa watching the kids and dh out the window -- snowball fights and snowmen.

7. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
Not so much.

8. Favorite Christmas song?
Oh, I love them all! Probably O, Holy Night.

10. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
They're OK.

11. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
We start Thanksgiving Day

12. Stockings before or after presents?
Before. Presents after dinner (usually lunch for us)

13. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
Love them, and love caroling!

14. Go to someone else's house or they come to you?
Depends on the year. Actually, we've always gone, but this year it's just us at home.

15. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
Yes, we don't have a specific time.

16. What do you do after presents and dinner?
When we're at other homes, whatever they do, lol. Usually play with stuff, talk, eat some more and nap. We're trying to come up with a tradition that's 'ours' this year.

17. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Christmas tree smell, baking.

18. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
I've only ever ice skated once, at a New Year's Eve party, on someone's pond, somewhat intoxicated. I think my knees are too old to try it again.

19. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
We usually let them open one on Christmas Eve, mostly b/c I can't wait! Not the ones from us, but one of the out-of-town presents that have come in the mail.

20. Favorite Christmas memory?
Maybe not the favorite, but the one that sticks out the most is the first Christmas Hubby and I were together. We were still in college, broke, all out of student loan money until the next semester. Hubby worked in Little Rock, an hour away, on the night shift. He didn't get his check until Christmas Eve, so we cashed it and figured we'd go out on Christmas Day, that at least one restaurant would be open. We didn't count on a small Arkansas town in the middle of the Bible Belt. NOTHING was open! Not even the Shoney's restaurant attached to the Shoney's Inn. We didn't want to drive to Little Rock since Hubby had to drive an hour back there and back the next day. So we thought we'd run to the grocery store, one would be open for a little whie for last-minute items. No such luck. We went to Dandy Don's convience store to see what they had. It was pretty slim pickins -- we ended up with tater tots and ice cream. We got home and opened the tater tots -- they were freezer burned!!! So, there it is, our first Christmas together with nasty tater tots and ice cream. But there was lots of luuuuuuv!

21. Favorite Part about winter?
I like the snow falling, hate the snow shoveling and snow driving. I enjoy winter foods -- thick soups and hot cocoa, baking without suffocating in the kitchen.

22. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Of course!

23. Tagging...
Let's see. Headmistress, Randi, FLYmom, Possum Pearl, and whomever else wanders by and would like to play.

Monday, December 19, 2005


UPDATE: Well, I took Headmistress' suggestion and checked them out on Ebay. Looks like there's not much demand for vintage card games -- or even true antiques! There was a 1830's set, it only had 4 bids and was only up to $26. I do love old things, simply for the history and sentimentalilty. It will be fun playing with them, knowing that Jim's dad probably learned his authors from this game as well!

Have any of you played this game? We have two sets, both which were inherited from boxes of things we found whilst sorting through Grandpa's things after he passed away and before his house sold. One is made by Parker Brothers, the other by Peter Pan games. The Parker Brothers set is larger, is still in the original box AND (proof that my children have never played it) still has the original instruction sheet. That sheet has a copyright date of 1942, so I'm guessing the game itself is that old. The interesting thing is that the Peter Pan set is a miniature set, but uses the exact same illustrations as the Parker Brothers set. It looks like it may be an even older set, but I would imaginee it is very devalued by the fact that it is missing one set of authors. I am torn between actually using them to play with the girls and sparking an interest in an author they might never have otherwise read (and whom I haven't read), keeping them for posterity -- not playing with them, and finding out their resale value and trying to sell them. My vintage book and vintage toy friends, do you think they may have any value? (Headmistress and Dirty Butter, this means you)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

White House Ornaments

Miz Booshay asks (well, actually her sister Sue did), "What is your favorite ornament on your tree and why?" I actually have a whole set of favorites. Hubby has a cousin who lives in Virginia, near DC, and volunteers at the White House. His aunt is so proud of her, she gets us all White House commemorative Christmas ornaments. We have all of them back to 2002 -- not an extensive collection by any means, but they're so pretty. Each one comes in a commemorative box with a little booklet about one of the former presidents. Each ornament is designed with details from that president's White House stay.

The pictures aren't the best, our living room has such bad lighting that I can't get a decent picture without flash. I'll keep trying!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's Beginning to Look . . .

. . .a lot like Christmas!!! We're finally getting into the Christmas spirit around here, and none too soon. We got our tree up Tuesday night; the girls and I decorated it Wednesday while Hubby was at work. He was surprised to see we got the whole thing done AND the boxes back into the attic (just for reference, I had boxes of Christmas stuff on my screen porch until, well, um, March last year!). Today, we had an early Christmas at Hubby's sister's home and the kids totally scored in the gift category! Every year I try to tell all the relatives that we're toning down on the presents aspect of Christmas, and they all act like I'm depriving my children of their childhood. Oh well, I don't want to steal their blessing, they truly enjoy shopping and seeing the kids open their gifts. I teased the girls that we realy don't need to buy any gifts for them now, they got such a stash. They didn't think that was funny in the least. We really will only buy them one gift apiece and perhaps a family gift. I'm thinking about one of those 5-games-in-one sets, since both girls are learning chess from Daddy right now. It's one of their favorite things to do with him -- that and play Blinx on the X-box! Anyway, a quick post before bed. Tomorrow or Monday I want to show off my White House ornaments, they're my favorites. Goodnight!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Too Fast!

Hubby has this little joke with the girls. He takes a book, puts it on their heads and pretends to push down on it saying "Stop growing! Stop growing!" They just giggle and giggle.

I felt like that today! Miss M decided that 7 was a good age to get her ears pierced. We decided when she was an infant just to wait until they asked and really wanted it done. She sat Hubs and I down the other day and told us she thought she was responsible enough to have her ears pierced. So today I took her to the mall and we had them done. She was so brave -- didn't even flinch on the first ear. Once the second one was done, though, she teared up and said in a small voice "That HURT!" She cried a little after that, but by the time we were a couple of stores away she was fine and all ready for pretzels!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Contemplating a Move

I've been thinking about moving over to Homeschool Blogger for a while now. I have so many friends who have blogs there and I love the templates! Do you have any pros/cons about their blog hosting, and any tips or suggestions to make the move as smooth as possible, without losing my current content or comments? Can I use Haloscan comments over there as well? I will probably wait until the Homeschool Blog Awards are over, so that anyone checking out my blog won't have an extra click to get over there. TIA for the input!

We Are So Blessed!

We are blessed with friends and love, and the grace of God! After my angst over the Blogad image, one of the ladies on the e-mail list I mentioned below contacted me to see if they could send us some cash to tide us over for Christmas. She would have done it anonymously but she needed our address. I wasn't sure if Hubby would accept it, but he did, just repeating off and on "Just tell them thank you. Just tell them thank you." I would love to link to her to let you all know what a generous soul and example of Christian love she and her husband are, but she would be embarrassed -- and probably furious with me, lol!

At dance last night, I was visiting with a dear, dear friend of mine and told her about my temptation, my decision, and the generosity of my online friend. I also mentioned that we hadn't put our tree up yet and I wasn't sure if we'd get a real one or not, considering Ds2's winter asthma. On the way home (we were riding with her), I asked if we could stop at the Rite Aid to get some milk -- it was on sale for $1.99/gallon and I had $2.00 in change I'd scrounged from the "finder's keeper's" cup in the laundry room. She had to stop and get some buns for dinner also, so I stayed in the car with the kids while she ran in. She got back in the SUV, and handed me two gallons of milk, a pack of diapers, one of wipes, and a . . . Dr. Pepper! What an awesome friend! Wait, but there's more!

Last night, hubby went to bed around 8:30 or so since he's working the 3:30am to noon shift this week. Around 9:30 there was a knock on the door. There was my friend, her husband, and their two kids. Her husband was carrying a big box. It was their last year's Christmas tree -- a pre-lit tree in perfect condition -- that they had replaced with a skinnier one this year! Just before they left, he handed me an envelope and said "Give this to J. I was never here and we never have to talk about this again." Wow. So we will be getting some groceries and gas today, going to get Miss M's ears peirced for her birthday tomorrow -- AND Hubby gets paid tomorrow! Hopefully we'll get a little Christmas shopping done for our kids and the cousins for Saturday.

God is good. All the time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Parenting Expertise Scale

According to KSMilkmaid's Parenting Expertise Scale, my rank is
. . .demigod status on raising young children close in age. Offered free unsolicited advice (with aspirations to charge for it) on scheduling, sleeping through the night, home schooling methodologies. Wore handmade, embroidered super woman garmets with cape accessories.
My cape is neither handmade nor embroidered, but I think she's right on target. Go check how you rate!

7 Sevens

Well, I've been tagged! In my melancholy lately I hadn't been surfing blogs as much as usual and missed that I'd been tagged -- twice! I'm probably the last person in the blogosphere to do this meme, but here goes . . .

1. Seven things to do before I die

  • Act or sing again professionally
  • Find my father's other children
  • Read the entire Chronicles of Narnia
  • Learn liturgical dance
  • See my children grow into young women and men of God
  • Go on a cruise
  • Go to Scotland again

2. Seven things I cannot do

  • Sing pop music
  • Listen to rap
  • Eat liver
  • Play the piano (after 4 years of piano as a college vocal music major!)
  • Play any other instrument but clarinet from way back.
  • Keep my otherwise sweet kitty from using our headboard as a scratching post while I'm trying to sleep! (Can you tell I didn't sleep well last night?)
  • Touch my nose with my tongue (watching the American Dragon cartoon with the girls, the dorky kid kept saying this. His annoyed friend grabbed his tongue and stuck it up his nose. Please, no one help me out with this lack of talent!)

3. Seven things that attract me to my husband. (just seven?)

  • His love for God
  • His incredible voice
  • His sense of humor (warped like mine)
  • His kindness
  • His integrity
  • His ability to put up with my craziness
  • His determination to be father God wants him to be

4. Seven things I say most often

  • Jiminy Christmas!
  • Duncan, NO!
  • Are you poopy?
  • This room is a wreck!
  • I've told you 52 times! (52 is my favorite exaggeration number)
  • Frick and Frack!
  • Crap (I asked the girls, that's what they said I say a lot)

5. Seven books (or series) I love
Oh, my goodness, just 7? I can hardly remember what I've read, I read quite a lot! How about 7 genre?

  • Sci-fi/Fantasy
  • Historical fiction -- really getting interested in Biblical fiction
  • Vampire fiction -- bet you never would have guessed!
  • Christian parenting nonfiction
  • Psychological thrillers
  • The Cat Who books
  • JD Robb's _______ in Death books (a mix of Futuristic/Psychological/Romance/Mystery)

6. Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would watch over and over if I had the time).

I don't watch many movies more than once, once I know the plot, it's ruined for me. These I'll stop and watch if I see them on TV.

  • When Harry Met Sally
  • The American President
  • I just don't think there are 7. I'll update if I think of more.
  • Blade (yeah weird I know, see #3 under books)

7. Seven people I want to join in, too.
Is there anyone left? If you haven't done this, you're tagged! Oh, Flymom, this means you!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I've Been Nominated!

Wow, I am surprised. I have a little ol' stream-of-consciousness blog, nothing profound or thought-provoking. At least that's what I thought. Now, imagine my surprise when I get my e-mail announcing the nominations for Spunky's Homeschool Blog Awards are up and go browse -- and see Roughcut Gems listed as a Homeschooling Moms blog!!! I guess I need to do less whining and more substantive blogging since people will (theoretically) be coming to see what I do over here. Yeah, I'll get right on that. Anyway, I'm tickled pink! Thanks, whomever put my name in.


Boy, the Bad Guy really knows where to hit us, doesn't he? Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Blogads, saying I had a new ad to approve. There was a follow-up e-mail (which is unusual), explaining that this was a mass ad by MSNBC -- the biggest blogad buy ever -- to promote it's new "digital day" and if we were going to reject it, would we do it right away? My curiosity was piqued, so I read on. Turns out, it's a revolving ad for several different shows and one is about p*rn. It isn't an ad FOR 'p', just about it. BUT one of the images is pretty iffy. It's not explicit, just obviously not family-friendly. It basically looks like a neon outline of a woman's body -- something you'd see over a triple-x club or bookstore.

Well, this would add $10 to my blogads account -- which would FINALLY take me over the $75 mark, which is when you actually get paid. $75 would be a great help to us right now, so it was really tempting(although when I thought about it, I'm sure I wouldn't see it until next month). I e-mailed some wise blogging friends, and they affirmed my initial reaction -- NO WAY! So, girded up with support from friends, I rejected the ad, knowing I did the right thing, but really hoping I'd get a new advertiser soon. You can see my hit meter, I don't have a lot of traffic, so I don't always have my blogads spot filled. So, I'm just praying and waiting.

WOW! God is so good! I just got another e-mail -- ANOTHER mass add for Friends/Everybody Loves Raymond. I can get behind that. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"I'm Fine, and You?"

Yep, it's another pity party with Gem. And it's not even that time of the month!!!

I am so tired. Tired of faking a smile, tired of saying "fine" when asked howzit going, tired of trying to muster up the energy to feel and connect with the worship music we're singing at church. Have you noticed I haven't blogged anything about Christmas yet? Some of that is because we really try to start the Christmas season AFTER Miss M's birthday so they don't all get rolled together. The other reason is that I'm in denial. As it stands right now, we probably won't have much of a Christmas. We're so broke, we weren't able to give Miss M a party or a gift. We went to the ice cream store with a little bit of Hubby's gas money -- which she proclaimed better than our Red Robin tradition! -- but other than that, nada. I was going to try to bake her a cake, but used most of the flour to make bread to try to last til next Thursday (payday). Even then, our bills will get paid and that's about it. We are beyond scrounging the pantry. I have really worked hard to stretch our grocery dollars, and have done a pretty good job of it thanks to Hillbilly Housewife, but you can only stretch them so far. We have Christmas at my SIL's on Saturday and I don't have gifts for her kids yet. Not sure if I will. Sure don't have gifts for my kids yet. But we don't want to go as the poor relation. I haven't blogged much about it, as I didn't want to embarass Hubby or let on too much to the family. But I don't think they're reading much anyway so I just thought I'd unload. Hubby isn't the Worship Minister anymore, but still has a position at the church, I can't just share with anyone there. You want to be open with your church family, but who wants to see you walking around with your guts hanging out? I don't know. It's just stressing me out, I'm not nice to the kids, and I know I'm dragging their holiday down. I want to do the stoic "We'll just have an old-fashioned Christmas, it will be simple and nice", but I don't know if we'll even have that.

I guess it all started when Hubster stepped down as Worship Minister. They kept him on as a kind of music director, but cut his hours (and pay) by two thirds. For some stupid reason, we didnt' stop right then and do an item-by-item analysis of what that would do to our budget. We seemed to be making the bills. Things always got tight around the 15th and the 30th, but we made it. What we didn't notice was that we were whittling away at our meager savings. When it was gone, we sold the Marquis that Hubby had been driving, since my Sis had left her car her for him to drive when she moved to Maryland for a (car-provided) nanny job. That lasted a little while, but we paid off some debt to get our monthly bills down and bought Home Depot scrip to work on the basement and it was quickly gone. So now we're realizing that we have a LOT more month than we do paycheck. So we're praying. Hard. Our preacher's wife told me today "God will provide". Will he? When it was our own foolishness that got us into this?

We don't want God to drop a check in our laps (although we'd cash it if He did!), but just some guidance as to how we can fix this His way. What is His plan? I know there are times when we try to fix things our selves and just get in God's way for what He has planned for us, but I also know there are times where He gave us a brain and expects us to use it. How do we know the difference? I will say this, in the last two days, the cleaning job at the church has opened up and a friend asked me to babysit her daughter the week between Christmas and New Year. He is throwing a few things in our laps. We just have to be patient, I guess. I'm just running out of patience and fake smiles.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

7 Years Ago Today

I became a mother! Little Miss M had taken her own sweet time, she was actually due on the 1st. The evening of the 6th, I thought I might be having some early twinges, but nothing regular was happening. We went to bed, but I just tossed and turned. I was so nervous, this being my first baby I was so unsure if I was in labor or not. By 6 am, I asked Hubby not to go in to work that day since the contractions were pretty regular at 30 minutes or so. We called my mom, who was flying in from Kansas, and let her know that I was in labor so someone else might be picking her up from the airport. Imagine her surprise when big ol' me walked up to her and said HI! I wasn't in much pain and the contractions were around 20 minutes apart -- and had been for a few hours -- so we figured I might as well be in the car with Hubby. We walked around the mall, took a nap, and by 11 pm they were around 5 minutes apart but still not much pain. I was so paranoid that they would tell me I wasn't really in labor and send me home. They kept me 'for observation' but the real deal came along quickly enough. By 9am the next morning little Miss M had made her appearance! I was going to post some early pictures of her, but that was before we went digital. Here are some others over the years:

4th Birthday -- This is basically a picture of me at this age

6th Birthday/Christmas pictures

Rockin' Down at 4

She was taking pictures with her first camera, at the zoo. So proud!

June 2003, at my SIL's wedding

And this year, proudly holding her card from Grandma Sherry, wearing her new birthday clothes.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Thanks, Friends

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone! We sang a couple of songs tonight that really focused me back on God and Christ -- it really helps not to just hyperfocuse on me! Of course, it was one of those nights where I was swearing at the kids to get them ready for church -- what an instance of "For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." I struggle with this so much! I feel like I'm letting God down, and it's such a little thing. I prayed with the girls tonight, asking forgiveness for my language and my temper, for not parenting them with the love, mercy, and grace that God parents me with. We were all in tears, but I feel it's so important that they see me as a sinner saved by grace, just as they are. In somethings God has put me in authority, but we are all the same under His love.

Well, I'm rambling. There's so much on my heart, but family and IRL friends read this and I don't want to share too much without Hubby's approval. Just keep us in your prayers, we're in a difficult place for now. Without a doubt, though, our faith is our rock and our love for each other is steadfast.

New Post

I hate it when I visit a favorite blog and they haven't updated for days and days! A week is an eternity in blog-land. But I just haven't had the oomph to get on here and start typing. Some financial turmoil, some depression, it just started to pull me down. Our preacher spoke Sunday on Jesus in the desert -- how Mark says the Holy Spirit drove him into the desert -- and how he thinks that perhaps the Holy Spirit drives us into desert periods in our lives because there are things we need to learn. I'm thinking I'd rather the HS do a little more public schooling and less homeschooling. You know -- more worksheets and less life-lessons. I think I could learn what I need to know pretty well from a book or self-help tape, rather than having to live it, don't you? Yeah, I know, it doesn't work that way. Anyway, I hope I learn my lesson soon, I'm getting hot and thirsty here in the desert.